RANDALLSTOWN, Md. - Baltimore County Police have not identified the off-duty officer who they say heard a loud bang at his door and proceeded to chase down one of the teens he spotted running from his yard, but the mother of 17-year old Christopher Brown says he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"His friend says he spotted a group of kids on the other side of the street. Christopher walked toward that and all of the sudden something broke out like the running and that's the part I don't understand," said Chris Brown, the victim’s mother and namesake.
Police are offering only the vaguest details about what happened next.
"He chased them and eventually caught up with one of them---this young male,” said Elise Armacost of the Baltimore County Police Department, “There was a physical fight and at some point during that physical fight the young man became unconscious."
The officer cried out for help as he administered CPR to the teen, but he never regained consciousness and was later pronounced dead at Northwest Hospital.
Christopher’s mother learned of his death from police five hours later, and she says they would not let her identify his body, opting instead to call in school officials from Randallstown High School where he just completed the 11th grade.
"I just want to lay my eyes on him. I just wanted to see if there were any bruises... you know what I mean? Because I don't want them to cover stuff up. I don't want them to push this under the carpet,” said Brown, "His school officials got a yearbook out and said, 'That's Christopher. That's Christopher! That's the kid... I mean he gets in no trouble. He doesn't. He's not a part of a bad group."
Police say the officer’s front door had been damaged, but they stop short of saying any other crime had been committed.
A neighbor, who lives near the scene of Christopher’s death, questions the officer’s use of deadly force.
"There is a line that at some point... there's a line. Okay? Some things you just let go,” said Jerry Stamper, “Some things are just not worth a life."
Christopher’s mother says her son played in numerous sports at Randallstown High, but had recently torn his ACL, which made it difficult for him to run.
The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled his death a homicide by asphyxiation.
The officer has been placed on routine administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation into Christopher’s death.
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